The annual guessing game of NFL mock drafts will finally end once Roger Goodell is welcomed to a mixed chorus of boo’s and cheers at Radio City Music Hall. Lives of hundreds of young men and their families will change once they receive a call from an NFL franchise, telling them they’ve been selected.
I’ve often wondered what each party is saying to one another when a team contacts a player, notifying them their name is being written down on an index card, then handed to the NFL Commish. Live TV coverage has given us a little bit of a glimpse over the past few years. The green room has hopefuls nervously waiting and once you see a player put a cell phone to his ear, a range of emotions starts to overcome the entire table. Smiles, tears, hugs and handshakes ensue while each prospect steps onto the stage for his first close-up as an NFL player.
While not only trying to guess what player will land where, I’ve also taken a stab at what some draftee’s are possibly hearing and discussing with his new employer.
These picks have been made by the off-chance there aren’t any trades in the first round.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Luke Joeckel – Texas A&M
The Chiefs take the safe pick with Andy Reid making the call: Hello Luke, so just like we have already discussed, the barbecue here is pretty good and Chiefs fans can’t wait to see you play each Sunday for the next 10 plus years. Welcome aboard young man. Try not to feel too awkward if Goodell goes in for a hug.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Eric Fisher – Central Michigan
Gus Bradley is passed the phone: Hey Eric, can’t wait for you to hit the ground here in Jax. We’re going to bring a new attitude to this Jaguar team with your help. Also, once you get here, please don’t make Maurice Jones-Drew any angrier than he already is. We want to try and a few games this year.
3. Oakland Raiders – DT Shariff Floyd – Florida
Reggie McKenzie while speaking with Shariff Floyd: Hello Mr. Floyd, are you ready to be an Oakland Raider? I’ve seen you terrorize my alma mater of Tennessee the past couple of years and can’t wait to see rile up the Black Hole here in Oakland. You have potential to become the next Warren Sapp.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – OT Lane Johnson – Oklahoma
With camera’s focused on Lane Johnson nodding his head several times, on the other end Chip Kelly is convincing him of the same high tempo offense both are used to in college. Lane, we are going to bear witness to the over-sized defensive fronts in the NFC East having their tongues hanging out of their mouth’s, each week before the halftime whistle.
5. Detroit Lions – DE Dion Jordan – Oregon
Head Coach Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew with Dion on speaker: Dion, we will really need you to come in and hopefully match the production we lost with the departure of Cliff Avril. Our jobs may depend on it. Please make an impact so we’re both not looking for new jobs next season.
6. Cleveland Browns – QB Geno Smith – West Virginia
I’m pretty certain Rob Chudzinski will have Geno Smith’s attention by simply mentioning Smith can become the next Cam Newton in his offense. I realize Geno was a different college player in a sense that he doesn’t run as much, so the read-option won’t highlight the weekly game-plan, but some concepts would translate.
7. Arizona Cardinals – QB Matt Barkley – USC
I’m a firm believer all of the talk of quarterbacks not going high in the first round is all smoke and mirrors. Last year alone, Ryan Tannehill was selected 8th and Brandon Weeden, who was 29 years old when he was drafted, selected 22nd overall. In 2011, Jake Locker went 8th and Blaine Gabbert selected 10th. A higher premium is placed on quarterbacks. I’ll guess at least three go in this years top ten.
8. Buffalo Bills – QB Ryan Nassib – Syracuse
Thus leading to Buffalo selecting Ryan Nassib. Coach Doug Marrone to Nassib: Together again kid, but now the stakes are a little bit higher. We will have to add more looks offensively so division teams who see us twice a year aren’t producing highlight reels of pick-sixes all day long.
9. NY Jets – CB Dee Milliner – Alabama
At this point does Rex Ryan even care? He’s probably only in the draft war room to see how badly John Idzik and Woody Johnson further run this team into the ground. Rex simply tunes-out all of those around him and excuses himself for a bathroom break immediately after this pick is made.
10. Tennessee Titans – OL Jonathan Cooper – UNC
Mike Munchak can hardly hold back his smile while speaking with Jonathan Cooper. I can’t wait to make you a pro-bowl guard, oh wait I have Chris Johnson sending me a text … it says thanks to all of us here in the war room for drafting a pulling-guard. Sounds like Chris Johnson can’t wait to share the field with you.
11. San Diego Chargers – CB Xavier Rhodes – Florida St.
First year coach Mike McCoy while greeting Rhodes by phone: Mr. Rhodes, we are going to need some production out of you from day one. We have this guy in Denver for the next couple of years still who hopefully won’t torch San Diego they he did last year as his coach. Andy Reid is also pass happy, so get ready to use your speed and quickness in helping cover these fast receivers in the AFC West.
12. Miami Dolphins – OT Menelik Watson – Florida St.
Joe Philbin to Watson: I’ve watched some Downtown Abbey, so our lines of communication should come without many hitches. Were you for Manchester United or Manchester City while growing-up in England?
13. NY Jets – OLB Barkevious Mingo – LSU
Once the phone is passed to Rex Ryan after this pick, I hope he doesn’t say what he’s truly thinking. Congrats kid, welcome aboard the train-wreck … we only took you with this pick because the new guy in charge traded my favorite player from the team and received a first round pick in a draft where nobody wants a top 15 pick.
14. Carolina Panthers – DL Sheldon Richardson – Missouri
Jerry Richardson hops on the line after receiving nothing more other than a blank stare from Ron Rivera. Hey Shelly, you mind if I call you Shelly? We already share something in common young man with our last name, how ’bout that? You want to talk with Ron? He barely looks like he wants to be hear right now.
15. New Orleans Saints – OT DJ Fluker – Alabama
Sean Payton briefing D.J. Fluker on his intentions for a revenge tour this year: … and remember to gently raise Drew in the air when he points you out for a massive block, giving him more than enough time to hang another six points on the board.
16. St. Louis Rams – OL Chance Warmack – Alabama
Jeff Fisher already creating fear for a first year player: I can’t wait to see if you are half as good as all of these draftniks say you are. If you thought Coach Saban was demanding, wait until you have spent a year with me.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – OLB Jarvis Jones – Georgia
Jarvis Jones will not be one of players hanging out in the green room, even though he’s already in New York, promoting Subway sandwiches. Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert hope this pick doesn’t turn into chicken salad.
18. Dallas Cowboys – S Kenny Vaccaro – Texas
For as long-winded as Jerry Jones is, no matter who the draft pick is, they will have to cut the call short to walk on stage.
19. NY Giants – TE Tyler Eifert – Notre Dame
Eli Manning adds a new weapon to his arsenal and warns Eifert by text message to not be late to the Giants press conference on Friday because Coach Coughlin is already watching.
20. Chicago Bears – WR Tavon Austin – West Virginia
Tavon Austin finally gets to flash a smile after chewing off his nails for about an hour straight, waiting for a phone call. Coach Marc Trestman to Austin: Get ready for lots of motion and multiple sets. There are some weak secondary defenses on the NFC North.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – RB Eddie Lacy – Alabama
Confusion on Lacy’s face as he listens to the voice on the other line: Hey Eddie, it’s Coach Lewis. Listen, Mike Brown has you confused a little with Mark Ingram, so that’s why he congratulated you on the Heisman trophy. Don’t worry, he rarely sticks his head in the meeting rooms or offices once the season starts.
22. St. Louis – WR Deandre Hopkins – Clemson
The Rams grab ‘Nuke” with their last of two first round picks.
23. Minnesota – DE Ezekial Ansah – BYU
A sigh of relief accompanies an exhausted looking face of Ansah’s while finally getting the call.
24. Indianapolis Colts – OLB Bjoern Werner – Florida St.
Chuck Pagano gets a valuable pass rusher and barely has enough time to say hello to his first round pick: Hey Bjoern, Jim Irsay wants to say something else … I’ll just talk with you further once you fly into town.
25. Minnesota Vikings – WR Cordarrelle Patterson – Tennessee
Adrian Peterson will have someone to provide relief on the outside, giving him less in the box. Peterson might break the rushing record next year if they find any production from a receiver who can successfully run a go-route.
26. Green Bay Packers – DT Star Lotulelei – Utah
Green Bay receives a gift to help a defense with question marks.
27. Houston Texans – CB Jamar Taylor – Boise St.
Wade Phillips gets a solid corner in a secondary now led by Ed Reed.
28. Denver Broncos – DE Margus Hunt – SMU
Denver gets an athlete who can pair with Derek Wolfe to strengthen the defensive line.
29. New England Patriots – WR Robert Woods – USC
Although this may sound a little weird, but Brady needs weapons.
30. Atlanta Falcons – DE Datone Jones – UCLA
Atlanta upgrades their defensive line under the recent tutelage of a former head coach, Jim Mora.
31. San Francisco 49ers – DT Sylvester Williams – UNC
San Francisco lands a player who projects as good nose tackle.
32. Baltimore Ravens – LB Alec Ogletree – Georgia
Baltimore fills a major void in the linebacker corps by drafting Ogletree.